The Run | 2015

Hello Everyone! Below is a big, long summary of Run the 1 2015. I began writing it during the chaos of the holidays and now I am finishing it before I leave for Rwanda. I will return to Rwandaconfidently, knowing that our kids’ education is safe and secure. I will return knowing that there will be money left over that will either be used to build while I am there or invested in the future building plans. We raised $12,000 and I can’t thank everyone enough. Please enjoy.

Just in time for the holidays, just when I thought there wasn’t much else I could be thankful for, I also have the privilege of writing this summary out for Run the 1 in 2015. This is the fifth year that I have had the fortune of doing this and it did not disappoint yet again. Thanks to everyone’s efforts and generosity, all of ours kids’ education is safe for another year. That is no small feat given how many of our kids are going to top schools in Rwanda now because they held up their end of the deal and succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations in the classroom. So I am so humbled to say that we raised $12,000! For the many awesome people who donated and helped out, Please allow me to explain how we went about earning your donations.

PRE-PARTY – Palo Alto – December 2nd – Wednesday

Laura and her amazing network of friends were once again so nice to host me at their home again for a party for Run the 1 and Michelle, whom I met in Rwanda, and is from Montara, CA. She helps out the same kids and was awesome to come to the party as well and share her experiences with the guests. Many of the guests’ kids came that night and joined us. At one point, a girl came up with a ukulele and was joined by the younger ones. They sang us an Elvis song and it was beautiful. Everyone had a great time and was extremely helpful in supporting our efforts. Thank you to Laura again.

THE NIGHT BEFORE – December 3rd – Thursday

I say it every year. The folks who come up the night before always help out more than people know. It should be noted that these guys usually are running with the least amount of support the next days and/or supporting without much company. It should also be noted that most often it seems this “night before” historically doesn’t give us good weather and we are rarely spending it in typical accommodations. The biggest thing those guys do for me though is keep my spirit at its highest. I get the nerves pretty good before Run the 1 begins and nothing calms them like having a handful of dedicated friends commit all of their time with me for the cause. This year, about ten plus of us met up at New Brighton State Beach campground with drizzling rain in the early evening. We had just enough time to check out the gorgeous views of the rising swell before the sun went down. We went and found a nice warm pub in Soquel to hunker down for the night. We all ordered Chinese food and carbed up for the next day. We also stuck around to catch the amazing Hail Mary end to the Packers/Lions game. Anyone catch that?!

Day 1 – December 4th – Friday – New Brighton State Beach to Big Sur Fire Station

  • Dustin Grise – 26*
  • Jess – 26
  • Rudy – 50*
  • Sully- 45
  • Chris – 26
  • Big Web – 26
  • Hildie – Biked 60, ran 20
  • Welker – 10
  • Fetrow – 26
  • Wasky – Biked 160
  • Schmitty – Biked 160
  • Michelle – Biked 25, Ran 1
  • Seth – 26

The majority of us woke up at four in the morning. Luckily the rain wasn’t too bad through the night. Rudy started things of for the runners. Rudy was attempting his first fifty miler. Dustin and Jess joined him as well and were unplanned regarding their mileage. Schmitty and Wasky started off on their bikes. Their plan was to go all the way to Cayucos Pier by the end of that day. That is a total of 165 Miles! Admiringly so, they finished that day, took a few nice pictures and then came back to us in Big Sur to help out supporting for the second day! Back to the runners, Rudy did a great job for his first half. Dustin had never run a full marathon before, nor did he plan on it but as what usually happens, he started committing himself and he did a full one. Jess was with him all the way too and we were really happy for the both of them. Rudy was on his own until he got to Marina where I decided to jump in with him at mile 30. At that point, after a few miles, I decided that I wouldn’t be able to stop until I got to Big Sur that night. We took our time but we couldn’t ask for a better day so we tried to keep our spirits up. The massive hill leading down to Carmel was painful but very inviting because it meant Rudy was almost finished and we had more visitors show up. Some of those visitors included Holmes’s Uncle and Aunt who have always took their time to provide us with grilled cheese sandwiches, potatoes, and Ibuprofen. We couldn’t be happier for Rudy finishing his fifty miles. I continued with a new batch of guys to finish the marathon from Carmel to Big Sur. We made great time and the views were what you would expect with massive waves breaking everywhere all day below. Everyone met us at Fernwood so the guys could warm up with much deserved drinks. Michelle and I ran the extra mile to the station because I wouldn’t have felt right if that mile didn’t get covered. As the night progressed, more friends showed up to hang out and get ready to do their part the next day. I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted because some of us had to get up at midnight, but I heard some folks come back around ten who sounded like they had a great time as they should’ve. I couldn’t have asked for a smoother,  more admirable, inspiring first day.

P.S. Hildie had a nice time the night before telling everyone that he was going to take it easy this year. His plan was to wake up later than everyone, take his bicycle and cruise all day on his way to Big Sur (which is still almost 80 miles but from years past, he felt that would be simple enough). His plan was working and he caught up to us a few miles past Carmel. He was all smiles until ten minutes later he was standing at a turnout. It turns out he had popped one tire earlier that day, replaced it, and then broke his second one just then. This time he wasn’t able to fix it. So the supporters took his bike and he ran the rest of the way with us but not before almost dying. It was admirable for sure, but I also couldn’t help but laugh at him after bragging the night before.

Day 2 – December 5th – Saturday – Big Sur Fire Station to Cayucos Pier

Technically this day started on the first day at 11:00 PM. Claire wanted enough time to finish her 80 mile run so she chose that time. I was lucky enough to support her so I woke up to. I basically drove five miles ahead of her and tried to sleep. She would arrive, open the back door, wake me up, eat something, drink, and continue. I would then repeat this until reinforcements came in the afternoon on Saturday. Behind me, Holmes had started at midnight with Schmitty doing support pretty much the same way. It was a gorgeous night and though I was tired, I can’t say much compared to Claire and Holmes and their efforts. They ran through the night and into the morning as best as any. Behind us, the other groups woke up around six in the morning and decided to do the majority of their runs behind us, starting from the station. I got all of the figures of what people ran below. I wish I could have seen all of their efforts and been there for them. They were in good hands and took care of each other. As the afternoon progressed, they finished up, and came up to help out the rest of the way. Other friends came up from San Luis Obispo to join in with other runners leading the packs. It wasn’t long before we had a group of over fifty people following runners all around and parking around stops and hanging out. There isn’t much better… besides finishing. Claire finished her eighty miles looking shot but thankfully not half dead like last year. Holmes decided to finish the last five miles to the pier. He had some company including myself. As we neared the pier you could see everyone waiting for us and it was really special. Even more special was the chant Holmes’s small nephews were singing for him for his big finish. When we got close, one nephew broke off and met us, and was so happy to run with Holmes. That was the least amount of running pain I’d felt throughout the two days. We did the hugging stuff and it was great. Then, while the sun was nearing sunset, we all got on the beach and took a great picture. Some guys brought out a cooler and we all enjoyed a beverage and I couldn’t think of a better place to be (Besides Rwanda). It was definitely our best finish of all the Run the 1’s.

It should be noted that I missed a lot of other peoples’ actions that day so I got the numbers down the best I could and want to thank them for pushing themselves so hard. I put an asterisk next to anyone who beat a personal record.

  • Laura – 17*
  • Emelie – 17*
  • Ali – 13
  • Kevin – 13*
  • Mark – 13*
  • Paige – 13
  • St. Vinny – 13*
  • Tiffany – 10
  • Gil – 31*
  • Sunish – 20
  • Nak – 26*
  • Gam – 26
  • Mario – 26*
  • Barthel – Got sick, but had spirit
  • Magic – 15
  • Sky -26
  • Lil Web – 13
  • Cooper – 13
  • Claire – 80
  • Holmes – 85
  • Hickster – 13
  • Lou – 17*
  • Dano – 25
  • Tranq – 20
  • Hall – 26
  • Todd – 5
  • Sully – 5
  • Michelle –Biked 90, ran 2
  • Wiley – 28
  • Devon – 28
  • Randy – 20
  • Taylor – 15
  • Jerry - 15
  • Mr. Holmes – 10
  • Mrs. Holmes – 5
  • Holmes’s Nephew – 100 feet

AFTER PARTY – Kreuzberg – San Luis Obispo

Once again, James from Kreuzberg was awesome to open his whole shop to us for the party and to donate a portion of his profits that night to the cause. We didn’t have much time before the West African Dance Troupe hit the floor and demanded everyone’s audience. Prior to the show, I saw Brita and my sister practicing on Higuera Street which is a testament to them both. We were fortunate to have Samba Loca follow them again. The Damon Castillo Band took the stage after that and locked into a tight groove. Meanwhile, it was great to see so many people from the run and around town and to celebrate the efforts put forth. The Glorified Gardeners is a group started from the Arroyo Grande Hotshots’ superintendent Michael Hickey and myself. Chris and T.J. even us out, and we were fortunate to have Nicolai and Laura (And Beef too) join us. It really capped the whole night off. We were tired but I think we put on our best show yet, and everyone’s energy was contagious.

The Rafiki Runs

We had been promoting the Rafiki Runs as a way to allow others to participate and spread awareness of the cause even if they weren’t in the central coast with us. We had a few additions this year! I want to thank Hanna Stevens from Washington State, Kevin Chambers (and his dog) from Merrimack, NH, Jamie Sullivan from Londonderry, NH, and all of the kids at Ubaka U Rwanda! All of our kids ran relatively at the same time as we were running on the first day! They all ran a 10k and I was told that they got a really great perspective on our efforts and are more appreciative than ever. Everyone that participated in the Rafiki Runs…thank you for inspiring us.

Final Thoughts and Goals for 2016

As is the theme now with these summaries, I am not sure I can adequately write about all of the positives of our event. It really is all good for the kids and us too. Truth be told, I was sad that we had to raise money for school this year and not to build, but that is only because the kids have done so well and are entering such prestigious schools. When I think about that, I can’t be too sad because we are doing that well. The building will continue when we can but our kids will always be first. I hope there is a chance we can add a little something to our dream home while I am there, but I will be patient, and I am in this for the long run.

Though I typically go over the million ways I am thankful for the experiences and friendship between all of us and where we live, I think I have a better way to say it this year. It is possible I will work in a new area in 2016 during the fire season. Whether or not that happens isn’t the story. The story is that some of the guys at different times were so kind to ask me what will happen to Run the 1 for 2016? I didn’t know how to answer because I have never been the type to expect others to jump into whatever I am doing and I wasn’t sure what the consensus would be if I were somewhere else. They have always just jumped into Run the 1 which is a statement itself. Anyways, those friends, in their own ways, said that they hope I continue it because it is a great thing for the kids and it brings everyone together. And I was touched by that. No matter how much money we raise, or how many miles someone runs, what matters is we are doing something good, and were doing it together. It’s that simple. I expect a Run the 1 in 2016 and I can’t wait. I hope you’ll be there with us. Thank you to everyone.

Komera (Be Strong)


P.s. Enjoy the pictures and know that donations are accepted year round through the www.runthe1/donate website.